Book Review: A Trust Betrayed
Mike Magner’s book, A Trust Betrayed, describes the major health problems which occurred at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Lejeune is a Marine Corps base that was established in 1941. By the 1960s it was evident that an inordinate number of pregnancies on the base resulted in miscarriage or severely disabled babies. At Lejeune, a few of the babies were born without a fully formed brain, many were born with organs on the outside, and some were born without a fully encapsulated spine. Many of those who were born without infirmities suffered from cancer in later life.
The causes of these tragedies were three-fold:
1. The soil is porous.
2. Fuel tanks were leaking.
3. Cleaning chemicals were dumped onto the ground.
The result was a culmination of toxic chemicals in the drinking water!
This revealing story is especially poignant for my family since I was stationed at Camp Lejeune for 18 months during 1970 and 1971. During that time, my wife and I lived on Smedley Butler Drive at the Midway Park married housing complex. We have since discovered that our drinking water was some of the most contaminated. We were pregnant at Midway Park during the last three months of my enlistment. I was enticed to extend or reenlist for a bonus and promotion to sergeant, but like one of the Marines cited in the book, I wanted to finish my college education, so I declined to extend. We are fortunate that I made that decision… had we not, I am convinced that our son would have since died or have been more severely handicapped. As it was, he was born with spina bifida occulta – not a debilitating condition, but it has certainly given him problems. He has suffered from back pain throughout most of his life, and the condition has prevented him from obtaining some jobs that require pre-hiring x-rays and heavy lifting.
It was great to see this book in public so that all might know these misfortunes, especially those known by the families that experienced more serious health problems… including the deaths of their children. In this recently published book we discover all the facts concerning the poisoning of Marines and their families at Camp Lejeune. Of course, the poisoning was unintentional, but it was covered up and it continued for an extended period of time. Magner’s research details the investigations, physical and emotional heartbreaks, and the government denials.
I highly recommend this enlightening book. Our author cites numerous stories of the family members who were affected by the poisoning. Other than a few spelling errors, Magner’s book is well-written and meticulously researched.